The 2017 Audi Q5 is offered in four trims: 2.0 Premium, 2.0 Premium Plus, 3.0 Premium Plus, and 3.0 Prestige. The two engines offered are a 220-horsepower 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder, or a supercharged 272-horsepower 3.0L V6. Both engines are mated to an 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission, and both are connected to Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system, which sends about 60 percent of engine torque to the rear wheels under most driving conditions. When slippery surfaces are detected, or when more stability is needed, the system is able to reapportion torque as needed.
With car-like underpinnings adapted from the Audi A4 sport sedan, the Q5 drives and handles much like that car, despite its relatively tall cabin. The Q5 is quite compact on the outside -- it's about as easy to park as a compact sedan -- yet there's a lot of passenger space within. Nice, supportive front seats afford a great view out, with a center console that has an adjustable armrest up top, while there's a surprising amount of legroom in back. The back seats in the Q5 slide fore and aft to balance the amount of cargo space and legroom, while the seatbacks recline; the seats also fold forward to allow a large cargo space or, when up, there's still a pass-through for long objects. The Q5's long wheelbase, in addition to helping maximize passenger space, also helps improve ride quality.
The Audi Q5 offers a long list of safety features that includes electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes and hill descent control, with a special off-road mode for the electronics that allows a little more slip. The stability control system in the Q5 will recognize when the roof rack is loaded and adjust accordingly. Front side thorax bags, along with head-curtain side bags for both rows are all standard. Rear side-thorax bags are available.
Leather upholstery is standard on the Q5, along with 19-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, a power tailgate, xenon headlights, power front seats, telescopic steering, keyless entry with an alarm, 3-zone climate control, a trip computer and a hard cargo cover along with cargo nets. The sound system standard on the base model is a 10-speaker, 180-watt system including Sirius Satellite Radio, an auxiliary input and an SD card slot, while Bluetooth, an iPod interface and navigation with Audi connect are optional.
Premium Plus models add heated front seats with driver memory, heated folding mirrors and LED running lamps. The Premium Plus offers, as options, a hard-drive-based navigation system that accepts voice prompts and includes a rearview camera and HD radio and an amazing 14-speaker, 505-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system. The Technology Package for this trim includes navigation and Audi side assist, while a Luxury Package is also available, with extended leather trim.
The top Prestige trim is only offered with 3.0L V6. It brings a host of high-end luxury and tech features including heated washer nozzles, a 3-spoke multifunction steering wheel with paddle shifters, Audi drive select, and adaptive cruise control, plus Audi Side Assist and a heated/cooled cup holder.
A Technology Package adds things like the Bang & Olufsen sound system, MMI navigation plus, Audi connect, and parking system plus with a rearview camera. The Luxury Package adds items like perforated and ventilated Milano leather seats, while the Black Optic Package features 20-inch wheels, a 3-spoke multifunction steering wheel with paddle shifters and black exterior accents. Adaptive damping suspension and rear side airbags are standalone options.
The SQ5 is Audi's high-performance version of the Q5. Offered in both Premium Plus and Prestige trims, it features a 354-horsepower version of the V6 available in the Q5. Audi has tuned the suspension on the SQ5 to be lower, stiffer and better handling, while unique interior features such as a flat-bottomed steering wheel remind drivers that they're driving something very special. Dynamic steering is also standard.
The 2018 Audi SQ5 is a performance crossover, so it's probably not the car you had on your wall growing up. Nevertheless it's a purchase that will embody the blend between the desires of Younger You and the demands of the Adult You. The best of both worlds, amirite?
Audi's turbocharged SQ5 will leave you -- and, if applicable, your family -- smiling on most drives, whether it's on the way to soccer practice or an evening drive with nowhere particular in mind. Growing up sucks, but the Audi SQ5 is proof positive that there are ways to make it less of a bear.
Usually, the aesthetics of a car don't actually bother me, but there's one spot on the 2018 SQ5 that doesn't rub me the right way. The rear bumper has what looks like tailpipe outlets from a distance, but once you move closer, you'll notice that they're just fake expanses of plastic -- the real pipes are tucked up and behind it. Why even pretend?
The Good The SQ5 will get you anywhere in a hurry and has an impressive smattering of tech.
The Bad Its different driving modes aren’t perfect, and backseat passengers will be cramped.
The Bottom Line It's expensive, but if you want a solid blend of performance and family-friendly usability, the SQ5 is worth a gander.
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